Surprising opposition to retail
Published on March 24, 2019 by David Wylie
Who would have thought a commercial realtor would vehemently object to more business in his city?
However, that happened in Vernon, B.C., when a proposed cannabis retail store faced some salty opposition from a commercial realtor with RE/MAX.
Vernon RE/MAX Salt Fowler Team partner Alex Wambold objected to a proposed store, calling the legal industry the opposite of reputable.
“I don’t think any professional business wants to have a store like that as a neighbour,” wrote Alex Wambold in opposition to one of seven cannabis applications that came before the city’s council in late March.
“We have enough drug problems in town already and this shop will not help reducing that,” he said. “We are striving for a better cleaner downtown core. By promoting good reputable business that serve and bring a positive impact into our community. Having a cannabis shop will create the exact opposite.”
Council approved the application — it approved all seven stores, in fact — sending them to the provincial government for final approval.
We asked RE/MAX’s corporate office if Wambold’s opinion was in line with the company’s stance on legal cannabis. In its response, RE/MAX didn’t outright condemn Wambold’s sentiment, noting all brokerages are independently owned and operated.
Still, spokeswoman Danielle Scott was clear the company stance is that cannabis is good for business and positive for neighbourhoods.
“Particularly in Kelowna and Edmonton, the cannabis industry is evolving into existing industrial spaces and development lands, which has contributed to the rise in lease rates for those areas,” she said.
“We see parallels of this with the residential real estate market and believe that new business/industries coming to any city improve growth in the region and help to drive demand for homes.”
She added cannabis retail locations can potentially reduce crime by providing a legal channel to purchase pot, benefiting a community’s real estate prices in the long run.
Salt Fowler has not responded.
Support from other Vernon businesses — including letters of support for the various applications by landlords and a variety of neighbouring businesses — show that businesses in the area actually do want legal cannabis stores as neighbours.
We encourage the Salt Fowler Team to educate themselves on the benefits of cannabis and shed the stigmas. They could start with reports published by their own company.
• Curious where the stores are? Check out the oz. cannabis map.
Kelowna has given first reading to seven applications. Public hearings on those locations take place on April 9.
- 547-559 Bernard Ave. (Flora Recreational Cannabis)
- 401 Glenmore Rd. (Flora Recreational Cannabis)
- 3818 Gordon Dr.
- 140 Rutland Rd. S. (Mary Jane’s Headquarters/Cheeba Cheeba’s)
- 2121 Springfield Rd.
- 1455 Harvey Ave.
- 2090 Harvey Ave. (Starbuds)
- 114-5601 Anderson Way (Blended Buds Cannabis)
- 106-27th Street (Flora Recreational Cannabis)
- 3004 – 31st Street
- 3301 – 30th Avenue (Hive Cannabis Company)
- 102-2500 53rd Ave. (Spiritleaf)
- 4513 – 25th Avenue
- 2913 – 30th Avenue